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FIFA exec tours Brazil World Cup cities

  • AP, Tuesday, August 28, 2012 3:10 PM

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, whose criticism of 2014 World Cup preparations angered Brazilian officials earlier this year, is back in the country to continue his tour of host cities. Valcke is scheduled to visit Manaus on Tuesday and the western city of Cuiaba on Wednesday. He will then meet with organizing officials Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.

"The visits are very important not only to see the stadiums and the general infrastructure progress but also to be able to discuss with the host cities and states representatives our joint mission, as they are providing the essential playing field for the teams and their fans," Valcke said.

The secretary general visited Recife, Natal and Brasilia in June, and Salvador and Fortaleza in January. He is expected to visit all 12 venues before the end of the year.

2002 World Cup winner Ronaldo and sports ministry official Luis Fernandes will be accompanying Valcke in this week's tour. In Manaus, they will meet with local government officials and visit the 44,000-capacity Amazon Arena, which will host four group-stage matches and is expected to be ready by mid-2013. Located in the Amazon rain forest, the northwestern city is one of the most isolated among the 12 World Cup venues and will present significant logistical issues.

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